Auto theft, burglary and larceny are among the charges waiting to be filed against a 22-year-old man believed to be the so-called "Bentley Bandit." The suspect was hunted, arrested and jailed in Louisiana in dramatic fashion after two police pursuits. The "Bentley Bandit," so titled for his spree of stealing cars of the Bentley brand, is wanted by police in at least seven states including Maryland and Virginia.
Louisiana State Police and the U.S. Marshals' Violent Offender Task Force received tips that the alleged car thief was traveling in the area of Lafayette. Authorities tracked the suspect for a time, but were unable to capture him during an initial chase.
A second attempt to arrest the wanted man was made the following day in Sulphur, this time with the help of a police helicopter and blood hounds. State troopers pursued the driver of the stolen Bentley GT Continental, sporting a license plate that read "Dial 911." During the chase, the driver lost control of the luxury car and crashed, but tried to get away by fleeing the accident scene on foot.
State police reports say the driver did not get far and, when he was finally nabbed, declared, "It's me." Authorities say the Bentley had been stolen from a Florida car dealer, where the suspect took a test drive without ever coming back. Multiple license plates were found in the crashed car's trunk.
The man is being held without bail and faces immediate charges of trying to flee, petty theft and illegal possession of stolen goods. There are other jurisdictions lined up to bring formal larceny and theft charges against the suspect.
Among the multiple law enforcement departments with warrants out for his arrest are the Virginia Beach police department and the Prince Georges County Sheriff's Office in Maryland.
Being arrested for auto theft can be a frightening experience. If you were driving a stolen vehicle, it may seem like there is no way around facing criminal penalties. However, under U.S. law, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. If you have found yourself in a situation like this one, speaking to an experienced criminal defense lawyer before speaking to police can be helpful in ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of your rights and options.
Source: KPLC-TV, "Latest on alleged 'Bentley Bandit,' wanted in 9 other jurisdictions," Victoria Waterman, 15 July 2011